It’s time to face reality. Kerry can’t carry this Colts’ team and its offense. He can’t put this team on his back the way Peyton Manning has throughout nearly his entire career. In fact, very few starting quarterbacks in the NFL could replace Manning and boast of consistent success. One could argue that this season may indicate just why Manning is the league’s MVP, even more so than his 2004 MVP season where he threw for 49 TD’s. No one player’s absence affects the team more than the Colts without Peyton Manning’s, no one. The proof is in the film. The Colts have gone from a team with title aspirations to a league bottom feeder, seemingly to the point where they will struggle to win against any team, including the Browns at home. A Manning-led Colts team would have beaten the Browns fairly easily and given the Texans a game in the opener. Without him, the team did neither.
Is that to say off with Collins’ head? No. At this point in the season, there are very few alternative and attractive options. The backup, Curtis Painter, has proven so far to be unready for the position. There are some that want to reach out to Brett Favre, but the quarterback spotted a passer rating of 69.9 in 2010, worse than Kerry Collins’ rating of 82.2. The fact is, Brett Favre simply wasn’t that good last season and that was with a better running game in Adrian Peterson and a much more sound defense than the Colts have at this present time.
The solution is not an easy one. Either wait it out with Collins and continue to ride the struggle bus, or continue to hope for a speedy Manning recovery. It is what it is. Kerry is a care taking quarterback, one who won’t make mistakes, but won’t make a whole lot of offensive plays by himself either. He’s has had his best success recently with the Titans, when he had a strong running game in Chris Johnson and a stingy defense. Problem is, neither one of these are strengths of the Colts, as the team is built around having Peyton Manning and a high powered offense. The defense, while much maligned, has actually performed reasonably well outside the first half of the Houston game. It’s a unit that is actually tougher than its given credit, but it relies heavily on speed and finesse. Consequently, the unit held the Brows to a 3.1 running yards per carry average, and it was primarily because of defensive fatigue that allowed Browns’ running back Peyton Hills to scamper unscathed 24 yards to the end zone late in the fourth quarter and seal the game. This has been the norm, as the defense has simply been getting worn down over the course of the game because of the Colts’ continuous short offensive drives.
What needs to happen is that the Colts need to find an offensive identity. The offense can’t try to all of the sudden run and pound the rock, playing smash mouth football, because that’s not who they are or how they’ve been constructed. The offense simply has to find ways to move the chains. What showed last Sunday, was that the offense had no rhythm or flow to it. Whether it’s a concerted effort to throw more short passes or to let the still strong armed Collins air out more deep balls in the offense, the Colts’ need to find an approach that works and commit to it. It’s also up to the offensive line, receivers, and backs to help him make plays because this isn’t a one trick pony show anymore. Collins can’t pull a rabbit out of the hat the way Manning often did and make something out of nothing. The point remains, Kerry can’t carry these Colts.